This entire week I've had a horrible cough. It's one of those coughs that keep you up at night and you feel like you are hacking up your guts.
Well, last night it was really bad. This was my fault because I had been outside hacking away at some weeds. I really shouldn't have been doing this, but they were driving me crazy to the point of tears.
I came in the house hacking away and the kids noticed. They wanted to come to my rescue. Maggie, my oldest 11 year old(I have two) told me to sit and she'd put Vicks on all over me. Then my youngest said she'd clean my feet (they get awfully dirty in the summer since I go barefoot a lot outside). Peter, my other 11 year old told me to go to bed so he could tuck me in. And even my almost 17 year old son helped me get the tiny braids out of my hair that had been put there by my 9 year old earlier in the night when she did my hair.
This was all very sweet....
Then, my 9 year old said she wanted to bring me breakfast in bed. Peter agreed with her. I told them no. I appreciated the offer, but I didn't want them to. I don't eat breakfast. I just have coffee. I told them it was okay. They had done enough. I knew they loved me.
Well, this morning they got their oldest brother (21 year old) to wake them up at 6 and they came into my room with orange juice and two candy bars and a tortilla rolled up. I was still in bed and had finally gotten to sleep after coughing all night. I woke up, sighed, told them thank you. Maggie (the oldest of three) said, "Mom, I told them not to do this. I told them to just let you sleep."
Ideally, for me the house would have been quiet so I could sit and drink my coffee, read the BIble and write in my journal. That doesn't happen very often (the quiet part). Instead, the house was loud, the pets were stirred up and I was getting my kids breakfast. And that was okay. That is life in our home.
I know this was all done out of love and it still makes me smile and it will forever be a very sweet memory. I made sure they felt appreciated, but what touched my heart the most was Maggie's comment. She knows me so well.
When someone knows you really well and loves you, it means so much. Taking time to understand someone is a way of showing them love, a down-deep kind of love.
And you know, I think this applies to us loving God too. This morning with all the chaos I realized I am often like my two youngest. I get a "great" idea and act on it thinking I'm doing some meaningful work for God when maybe I am totally off base. When we are misdirected on how we are serving God but we do it out of love I believe God appreciates the gesture and sees the love we have for Him, but He would still rather us do what He calls us to do rather than act on our own ideas.
I don't know if I'm explaining what I'm thinking.
How about this -- when people who loved the Lord showed their love by wearing hair shirts and sleeping on nails and whatnot back in the Middle Ages, I believe He appreciated their desire to show love and sacrifice for Him, but I think He might have been shaking His head because His kids were just not getting what He meant by love and sacrifice. Or, when during the same time when some of His kids thought that denying themselves baths was holy, He appreciated their efforts but He was probably saying, "Take a bath. You smell bad."
As I wrote yesterday and as many of you know, God looks at our hearts. He sees our intentions. Sometimes we can have the best of intentions but do stupid things, even violent things in His name (Think of the Crusades, the Salem Witch Trials and when we currently speak against other Believers because we don't agree with their beliefs).
There is great value in taking lots of time just to get to know Jesus really well. Getting to know anyone, especially God Himself, takes years, decades, a lifetime.
And there's great value and great love in spending your time getting to know, really know, your spouse and children. Try it. Be a student of the ones you love. It's an honorable and lifelong assignment.